Drew: Note to universal pre-k planners – we already have Head Start

Across America, many are applauding the Senate passage on Aug. 12 of a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package as a first step in advancing the largest safety net expansion since the 1960s. That legislation aims to expand health care, fund climate change programs and provide free preschool and community college among other “human infrastructure” initiatives that will increase quality of life and opportunity for those left behind in the wake of unfair distribution of wealth, ongoing racism and an unprecedented global pandemic.

As universal preschool becomes reality, early childhood education policymakers and providers in 50 states and at widespread federal offices, are madly strategizing the how, why and where of putting free high-quality universal pre-kindergarten programs in place.

But wait a minute — we already have an outstanding national pre-school program that can be expanded and emulated.

For almost 60 years, Head Start has provided education, health, mental health, nutrition and economic stability for our nation’s low-income children and their families. It has stood the test of time, responding to federal scrutiny regarding quality upgrades and improvements.